Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Importance of Being Gay!

I came to Singapore in 1970 to do a one year Private Secretarial Course at Stamford College. I remember, one evening, my brother's good friend, Mr. Yeoh, came to fetch us for dinner and later we went to Bugis Street for a drink.

At that time, there were rows of shop houses which have now been replaced by a tall building where we can find Seiyu Departmental Store. I remember the place was very crowded with many tourists. While sipping my coca cola, I became bored as we had been sitting there for quite some time. I realised people were just looking and staring. I asked my brother's friend what was so interesting about Bugis Street. He then whispered to me, "See those ladies. They are men!"

"Really, I opened my eyes in surprise! Are you sure? I thought they are women!"
I was really ignorant and naive then as I had just left my village in Penang to come to a big city like Singapore to study.

I began to look around me with new interest. "Is that one also an Ah Qua (transvesite) ?" I whispered into Mr. Yeoh's ears.

"You silly girl....that one is a real lady lah. Aiyo! You must look out for their adam apples lah!"

In 1983, I came to Singapore again, this time shortly after my graduation in Canada. I ended up teaching in Singapore. I remembered Bugis Street. When I went there, I was surprised to find the transformation. Now tall buildings loom everywhere with lots of eateries. Now, we even have a new MRT station. People are now more stylishly attired and the branded goods department seem to have many interested customers. Bugis Street is no longer well known for the Ah Quas (transvesites). I understand that now all the Ah Quas (transvesites) are scattered all over the island in Changi, Rowell Road, Jalan Besar, etc.

Alas! Despite all the progress, prosperity and improvement, the people on this little dot are no longer gay! The researchers have established that Singaporeans are one of the unhappiest people in South East Asia.

Come on people! Let us remind ourselves that as we progress and live longer on earth, let us look on the bright side of things. We only have one life. Let us always be positive and find joy in simple things. Let us be grateful that we are able to breathe another day. Let us enjoy the sights around us - the lovely trees, the orchids, the wild flowers and birds and above all, let us be thankful to the creator for His blessings of protection from earthquakes, tsunamis, etc. It is important to be simple and gay for then we will enjoy good health, because laughter massages our internal organs and lift our spirit.

No matter how successful and prosperous we are, we must always remember to be joyful and gay.

Ah! The importance of being gay!

Gan Chau

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